UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

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Immune System Diseases | Respiratory Tract Diseases | Social Media


BACKGROUND: Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects nearly 25 million individuals in the United States. More research is needed into the potential for health care providers to leverage existing social media platforms to improve healthy behaviors and support individuals living with chronic health conditions.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we assessed the willingness of Instagram users with poorly controlled asthma to participate in a pilot randomized controlled trial that will use Instagram as a means of providing social and informational support. In addition, we explored the potential for adapting the principles of photovoice and digital storytelling to Instagram.

METHODS: We conducted a survey study of Instagram users aged 18-40 years with poorly controlled asthma in the United States.

RESULTS: Over 3 weeks of recruitment, 457 individuals completed the presurvey screener; 347 (75.9%) were excluded and 110 (24.1%) were eligible and agreed to participate in the study. Of the 110 individuals, 82 (74.5%) completed the study survey. The mean age of the respondents was 21 (SD 5.3) years. Among respondents, 56% (46/82) were female, 65% (53/82) were non-Hispanic White, and 72% (59/82) had at least some college education. The majority of respondents (67/82, 82%) indicated that they would be willing to participate in the proposed study.

CONCLUSIONS: Among young adult Instagram users with asthma, there is substantial interest in participating in a pilot randomized controlled trial that will use Instagram to connect participants with peers and a health coach to share information about self-management of asthma and build social connection.


Instagram, asthma, digital storytelling, social media, social support, young adult

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© Kerry A Spitzer, Brent Heineman, Marcella Jewell, Michael Moran, Peter K Lindenauer. Originally published in JMIR Formative Research (, 30.09.2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Formative Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

DOI of Published Version



Spitzer KA, Heineman B, Jewell M, Moran M, Lindenauer PK. Evaluation of the Acceptability of a Proposed, Instagram-Based, Randomized Controlled Trial for People With Asthma: Survey Study. JMIR Form Res. 2021 Sep 30;5(9):e24005. doi: 10.2196/24005. PMID: 34591019; PMCID: PMC8517815. Link to article on publisher's site

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JMIR formative research

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.